Saturday, October 2, 2010

anniversary celebration

Today marked day three of the four-day-long Intercarreras celebration here at the College. Intercarreras is the annual celebration that takes place the first weekend in October in honor of the Feast of St. Francis on October 4th--the anniversary of the founding of the College. This year the UAC-CP is celebrating 17 years of providing high education and services to Bolivia's rural area.

An Ecotoursim student freshens up the basketball court on Wednesday by painting U.C.B. (Universidad Católica Boliviana) in the center.

Intercarreras is an olympics-esque event that pits the five different carreras (majors) and Pre-University students against one another in a variety of competitive events. Students play soccer, futsal, volleyball, basketball, and chess by day. And by night they take the to the stage to compete in poetry, karaoke, dancing, and theatrical competitions. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, College administrators take turns cooking--preparing enough food to feed 800 people each day. (Last night, I came into the kitchen of the Volunteer House to find Hugh and volunteer Chris DeLorenzo butchering 40 chickens for tomorrow's barbecue!)

In between games, students sit down to eat a bowl of soup. The lunches were prepared by UAC-CP faculty and staff members.

I can't keep up with all of the constant day-long activity. But students and staff don't seem to mind the long days that begin at about 6am and last until 1am.  "It's the one time of year when we all come together and just celebrate ourselves," an Education student told me. "All the pressures and difficulties we have in our lives...we forget them for a few days and just have fun."

Despite heavy rain today, Veterinary Science students faced off against Education students on the lower campus' mud-covered soccer field.

Intercarreras is also an informal homecoming event. Graduates return with their families to visit the UAC-CP and one another. This morning I chatted with UAC-CP Agronomy graduates Juan Suñiga and Leyla Yujra--the married couple came with their two little boys from Caranavi. "For us," Juan explained, "coming to Carmen's like coming home." Juan claims that he was the second person to register for classes at the College when it first opened its doors 17 years ago. "I am happy to be a part of an institution that is contributing in such a significant way to the development of Bolivia's rural area."

The activities will culminate tomorrow with a day-long parade and showcase of traditional dancing. In the late afternoon, the winning academic department for the multi-day event will be announced. And on Monday the little village of Carmen Pampa will be quiet--as everyone rests and recuperates and prepares for life to return to "normal" on Tuesday.

1 comment:

Brooke said...

I've only attended one intercarreras, and it was SOOO much fun! I did enjoy seeing all the alums come back, too. It's great that the staff are preparing meals during the event. Kids were so busy, they were not eating. Please post pics of the baile folklorico. It's my fave!!!